Reinert Christian Reinertsen is a Civil War enigma. Hewas born March 15, 1847 in Maudal, Rogaland, Norway. His father was Reinert Andreas Jorgensen. His mother was Caroline Neilsdatter Lodshaven. He was christened on April 9, 1848 in Farsun, Vest-Adger, Norway. Beyond this, nothing is known about Reinert's birth family or his childhood formative or teenaged years.
Exactly when and/or why Reinert C. - whether on his own or with his birth family - came to America, is not known. However, an 1870 U.S. Census reading provided by a Civil War researcher placed him in Red Wing, Goodhue County, Minnesota.Red wing is located in the southeast corner of the state along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. It was there, two years later on December 19, 1872 he married to Anna Jacobine Tallaksen (b.8/30/53 Norway). It appears likely the union produced three children, with gender and names of the first two, not known. The name of only one - Ralph O. (b. 9/4/81 Park River Walsh County, DT) - is documented. As noted by this child's place of birth, by the latter part of 1881 the Reinertsens had quitted Minnesota and resettled in part of the Dakota Territory that would later become the State of North Dakota. A later, Snohomish County Washington publication (History of Snohomish County Vol. II 1926 pg. 758) noted that Reinert and Anna were "pioneer settlers" of that region of the Dakotas and Ralph was the first white child to be born in Walsh County.
In 1883 Reinert staked a homestead claim for him, his wife and three childrenin Park River, Walsh County, DT. There, sometime during the next six years, Anna apparently died because in 1889 Reinert remarried to Ulrikka Quam (b. 8/16/68 Trondheim, Norway.) This union would produce at least one child, son Oliver J. (b. 11/1/06 Walsh Co., ND).
Reinert and family remained in Park River at least until 1910, but at some point either he alone, or with his family, removed from there and returned to Minnesota settling in the community of Crookston located in the far northwest corner of that state near the Minnesota/Dakota border. While there Reinert was reportedly employed in the hardware business.
By 1926, when the above mentioned Snohomish County, WA profile on Ralph Reinertsen - a successful automobile dealership owner in the City of Everett, Snohomish County, WA - was written, it noted Reinert as then being 80 years of age residing in Everett. Whether he was living with son Ralph or on his own is not known. Wife "Rikka" had passed away some years before, but exactly when and where is not documented. Reinert had apparently come to the Puget Sound area to be with or near Ralph and his family.
Reinert Christian Reinertsen died January 28, 1928 in Everett, Washington. Burial was in that city's Evergreen Cemetery on the 31st Here's where the afore mentioned "enigma" comes in: Burial arrangements were handled by members of Everett's John Buford Post of the Grand Army of The Republic of which Reinert was a member. The G.A.R. was an organization formed by former Union Civil War soldiers and sailors. However, no military service record can be found for Reinert.
While some G.A.R. posts, in later years did admit "honorary" or "associate" members this does not seem likely in Reinert's case. A more plausible hypothesis is that he was a "citizen soldier" during the war in Minnesota.
In 1863 Minnesota and bordering territories were beset by a "war within a war." While Americans in blue fought Americans in gray, Native American Indian tribes such as the Lakota Sioux instigated a bloody uprising in Minnesota. According to contact with persons within the modern-day Minnesota State Archives, prior to the arrival of Federal forces in Minnesota, defense of the populace was under the auspices of the local residents who were called out by Governor Alexander Ramsey and formed into loose, military units which were "disbursed along the frontier." Unfortunately, State record keeping pertaining to these organizations was very limited and Reinert's name has not been found amongst those that do survive.
Conclusion: Reinert C. Reinertsen, citizen soldier, helped defend the Minnesota frontier until relieved by Federal troops. While he does not have U.S. military service record, his "service" may likely have been enough for the G.A.R. to recognize him as a member. Only time may turn up more substantial information.
Buried at Evergreen Cemetery
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